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Bad seed (rough draft)

Hgraves's picture

{At this point I’m writing about how Yumi was branded the bad seed but when I looked up the etymology, a bad seed is a genetic thing. Like it doesn’t just turn bad as they said Yumi did, it is already bad. Therefore, I believe it was her environment that shaped her identity. So, basically I state in my thesis that Yumi wasnt a bad seed, but in fact she was a good seed just overtaken by weeds and not planted in the soil she needed to flourish accordingly. -- Unfortunately the server was down when I woke up this morning to add the part below, and the library was closed so I couldn’t use the computer I used the other day to get the rest of my paper, so I had to just write this by itself and the rest of my paper is in my email.}

Yumi started off as an innocent child. She was thrilled to go to school and she loved teaching her parents about everything her teachers had taught her. It wasn’t until she had her first encounter with her teacher, Mr. Rhodes, that there began to be a shift in her attitude. Similar to a plant, a child needs the proper nourishment in order to flourish and grow, and Yumi had that at home. But when weeds began to overtake the plant, there is no turning back; and Mr. Rhodes was Yumi’s weed. Being that she was a young child, she was very impressionable. As they became closer more and more you began to see her identity shift from daddy’s little girl to the rebellious child she ended up being. For example, church was an important deal within the family. Those values that the Methodist church has instilled in Yumi began to go out of the window when she began getting closer to Mr. Rhodes. She began to be more interested in zen and had a growing fascination for Asian culture because he viewed it as more spiritual and deeper, “But, Mom, it’s Japanese. It’s Zen.  “Stupid. Make no sense.” “It’s not supposed to make sense. It’s supposed to help you reach enlightenment.” “Never heard of it. Anyway, why you need enlighten when you got good Methodist church to go to? “Oh, Mom.” You sighed, glancing at Lloyd before going one step further. “I don’t believe in organized religion.” As Yumi and Mr. Rhodes began to get closer, she began to drift away more. His influence on her was so strong that she ended up losing her virginity to him and having a baby by him that was aborted and resulted in her running away from home. Mr. Rhodes being in Yumi’s environment commenced the idea of her being a “bad seed”. He had an influence on her at such a young age which later on shaped her identity.

But Mr. Rhodes wasn’t the only weed in Yumi’s life. Her parents played a big role in her decisions and who she became after she ran away. Back at home, Yumi’s identity shifted from the bad seed to the girl who doesn’t care about her dying parents. But, it wasn’t her fault. After writing letters and getting either only a response from Momoko, her mom, or no response at all, it was hard for her to keep up with them. Granted she could have gone home to see how they were, she couldn’t because of the shame she felt as described on page 37 where she talks about the accident that happened behind the Unger’s home. “Do you remember when the ammonia train car derailed over behind the Ungers? And all the stuff went into the air and we all had to evacuate, and how scared we were because the poisonous gas was going everywhere, on every wind but you couldn’t see it? That’s what it was going to be like. I could tell that your shame was going to full every crack in the house, seep into every secong of the day, and suck the air right out of me.

{Here I argue how after she ran away, and was in a more positive environment and the weeds were snatched out of her life, you began to see her change her life around and do bigger and better things.}


weilla yuan's picture

Even though Haddiyah's paper is not fully uploaded, there are already some really interesting ideas. She looked up the etymology of bad seed and found out that the bad seed is not turned bad but is born bad. So Yumi is not a "bad seed" but is a good seed that did not get flurished during her childhood. 

She also argues that the bad influences (weed) that affect Yumi is Mr. Rhodes, the teacher who got into both her mind and body. and the other weed is her parents. after Yumi ran away, she barely heard from her parents, so it is hard to stay in touch with them.

I feel like what Haddiyah's claim is that Yumi is actually not a bad seed, but a good seed that got influenced by the weeds in her life. After she ran away when the weeds were out of her life, she begins to get on the right track of a good seed.

Anne Dalke's picture

I’d like to see you take some more time “in the cracks.” If the etymology says that a bad seed is “a genetic thing,” you can’t just ignore that reading by asserting your counterbelief that environment shapes her identity…

At the core of my questions is accuracy of the plant/human analogy you use. Every analogy breaks down @ some point…how far can you take yours, that “similar to a plant, a child needs the proper nourishment in order to flourish and grow,” that “in fact she was a good seed just overtaken by weeds and not planted in the soil she needed to flourish accordingly”?

What do you mean, when you say that Mr Rhodes was Yumi’s “weed”? Is HE the “bad seed”? Did he never “start off as an innocent child”? What do you mean, when you say that “Mr. Rhodes wasn’t the only weed in Yumi’s life,” that others included her parents? Are they, too, “bad seeds”? Did they never “start off an innocent children”?

What do you mean, when you say that “the weeds were snatched out of her life”? Are none of the children’s fathers weeds, or bad seeds? Do they all continue innocent children?

Finally, and probably most importantly: what do you mean, when you say that “it wasn’t her fault”? Do you mean that human “seeds” don’t have responsibility, that we simply play out something encoded in us before we were born? But then you say that shame prevented Yumi from returning home…Is shame a condition owned by the shamers, not by the ones being shamed? Not a pre-encoded condition?

All these questions are to say: I think you’ve got a GREAT topic, and that there are wonderful larger questions about human flexibility and responsibility that might emerge from looking @ Yumi’s behavior, and looking more closely @ the viability of the analogy that you are using to structure your paper….